Last week we reported that City Council–having repeatedly asked the mayor and the Office of Property Assessment to detail how it came up with the new property assessments–finally got an answer in the form of a 15-page document (embedded below). Chief tax assessor Richie McKeithen warned Council that it wouldn’t make sense to anyone other than…well, him, maybe. But it seems some Council members read it anyway, including David Oh, who feels it’s incomplete.
“It’s kind of like providing a recipe on making a salad, and generally saying ‘you chop up some vegetables, you mix em together and throw some dressing on it.’” said Oh. “You can’t duplicate that. We need to be able to verify what was done in order to verify it’s within acceptable standards of assessments.”
Philly has 10 City Council districts, and according to data analysis by NewsWorks, one of them leads the rest in property tax delinquencies. But it’s not necessarily the one that you’d think.
The 8th District (above), like all Council districts, is oddly shaped and includes disparate neighborhoods–everywhere from 22nd and Allegheny to Stenton and Hillcrest avenues. Represented by Cindy Bass, the 8th owes $94,151,727–the most of any of the 10 districts.
The City’s chief assessor has announced that the Office of Property Assessment will post a document explaining how the new property assessments were determined–something that’s been asked for not only by citizens but by members of City Council. McKeithen, of whom we’re rather fond, has seemed a bit irritated by the request, as though we should all take it on faith that the city–which has bungled (or simply not done) the assessments since before the first Franklin impersonator donned his spectacles–would get it absolutely right on the first try.
(We will give McKeithen a pass for his irritability around AVI because he’s not from Philadelphia, and has been appalled since he arrived here to see how messed up everything is. This, from a man who was chief assessor in D.C.)
The changes to Philadelphia’s districting were supposed to take place in 2016, but somehow, without anyone noticing, City Council decided to just go ahead and do it now. What that means is that the Councilperson you’ve grown to know and love–or know nothing about–may no longer be your Councilperson. Thankfully, @Mapadelphia, aka Sarah Cordivano, has made a map showing the shifts.